the Prime Minister was obliged to say—and I was most grateful to him—
that Article 2 did not in fact apply to that country. But I did at least think
that it applied to our Allies. What does it apply to now ? It is only a guide
and no longer a rule. I suppose the Atlantic Charter., with that Clause in it,
applies only to those countries who are so strong as to be able to protect
themselves or so remote as to be out of danger.
I have heard it said that the Poles are a difficult people. Perhaps they are.
So should we be, if half our country were to be given away to somebody else.
The Poles have no monopoly of being difficult in the world to-day. But the
Poles have not been conquered. They are still fighting. They are fighting
with us and they are fighting in the underground movement. This is not a
case of vae victis. We know perfectly well that when a country has been
defeated, she must bear the consequences. She may have to bear the most
dreadful horrible consequences but that is because she lost the war. In this
case Poland has not lost the war, she is our Ally, she is our continuing Ally
and she is still fighting by our side.
May I now come to the terrible situation with which we are now faced
as a result of Yalta ? This is the fifth partition of Poland, although it is
only the first in which this country has taken part. In the last 200 years
this is the fifth time in which Poland has been cut up by adjoining Powers.
Hon. Members have said in the course of this debate that they look upon
the second part of our Amendment, which refers to the question of a free
and independent Poland, as being paramount, and that the question of
territory does not matter so much. . . . But do not let us think that this
question of territory does not matter at all. You can argue perfectly well
about the ethnological lay-out on the east of the Curzon line. We have been
given some figures which show that there are two-fifths Poles, two-fifths
Ukrainians and one-fifth Ruthenians and Jews. That is not the point.
The point at issue, it seems to me, is not a question of the rearrangement
of boundaries. I think it was Pitt who said : " Roll up the map of Europe."
The map of Europe has been rolled and unrolled a good many times since
then—but in this case this territory of Poland was guaranteed by treaty 3
freely entered into between Russia and Poland and three times re-affirmed
by implication and by the whole tenor of succeeding treaties. ... I
believe you will get no peace in Europe unless the sanctity of treaties which
confirm boundaries as a result of discussions freely entered into, is recognised
and honoured. There will be no peace in Europe for 100 years unless we
return once more to that principle.
I would like to say a little now about the question of Lublin Government,
and the Provisional Government which is proposed as a result of Yalta.
It is to be chosen, we understand, by three eminent men—a brace of
Ambassadors and a Foreign Secretary. I wonder if we would like that very
much and if we would show much confidence in a Government so chosen
for us. Would any country in the whole wide world accept such a
Government ? Surely one of the principles of the Atlantic Charter is the
right of every people to choose its own form of Government. But this
Government is being chosen for the Poles. There is one more point I
should lie to make on this. There are in part of the Yalta communique
dealing with Poland, some sinister references to the suggestion, or the^ fact
that only anti-Nazis will be allowed to vote and take part in these elections.
What does that mean ? Does it mean that anybody who is declared by the
Provisional Government—or it may be by the Lublin Government for all
I know, to be a Nazi is not to be allowed to vote. If this is the case, there
can be no possible free elections in Poland, because it has only to be declared
that a man is a Nazi—and he may be the leader of the Socialist Party for